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Canada (161,540)
Sociology (212)
SY102 (8)


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Natalie Coulter

Cyberbullying Steven Laurence 100825440 R. Saunders November, 11 2011 Laws 2301 T Bullying has been an issue that the government has tried to relegate in school for over a decade now but there is a new type of bullying that the federal government is considering to now engage in society. Before doing so however we need to advise the federal government with this certain topic and how it will affect society whether being positive or negative. Therefore what the federal government has proposed is “Everyone who engages in cyberbullying is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.”(R.P Saunders, Assignment) So in simpler terms, they want to enforce online bullying such as when people communicate through facebook or msn so they will be able to monitor this issue virally. The definition of cyberbullying that will be used throughout this is “the use of information and communications technologies...to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others”. (Bill Belsey, 2005) Furthermore cyberbullying needs to be advised to the federal government whether or not it should be made a crime, and if so it would have to withhold the purposes and goals of a criminal law. This issue will need to be examined at many different levels of analysis in order to fully be able to advise the federal government, on how it will affect society as well as how to enforce it. Before we get into everything, this is an outline of the essay and what will be examined throughout each section. We will first discuss the purposes and goals of criminal of law and whether cyberbullying falls into these regulations, as we will use the Smith principles and other perspectives into determining so. Secondly, we will search the positives of incorporating cyberbullying into our federal system and how it would benefit society using examples from research. Then we will examine the negatives of enforcing cyberbullying and the impacts it would have on society, finally I will determine what the federal government should do as well as my opinion on which side I would prefer. Cyberbullying is a different but interesting topic to examine as there have been several issues regarding this and therefore will need to view all of these. To begin, criminal law in Canada is defined by the authority due to that they determine how much power is needed to enforce. By power it consists of both physical and psychological components; the physical includes the police, judges, public prosecutors, and government ministries to name a few. The reason for explaining this is due to how a crime is enforced is a major issue in law and thus these people of power determine that. However cyberbullying must meet the regulations of the purposes and goals of criminal law in order to be a criminal offence, in order to determine what is required from the goals and purposes of criminal law we must examine the Modified Smith Principles. The Modified Smith Principles were originally developed for sexual offences but was modified into that it states that criminal law should preserve the public and protect citizens from any harmful acts; in cyberbullying you would consider a harmful act any sort of harassment involving email, instant messaging, chat rooms, 1 small text messages, websites, and voting booths as well as others. Also the Smith principles state that law should not be based on fictions or myths but scientific fact, and as for cyberbullying ninety nine percent of Canadian students use the internet, and forty eight 1Lecture 4, Saunders percent of them use it for a least an hour a day, while nearly sixty percent of students use chat 2 rooms and instant messaging. These are all statistics that would mean there could be scientific fact behind cyberbullying Other principles that are modified by Smith is that greater punishment is not affective as it raises expenses, and another principle is that laws that are not enforced or are enforced inconsistently should not be maintained as it brings a disrespect to criminal law because it is in the books but not in practice, an example of this is possession of drugs but cyberbullying introduces a different aspect to these which will be discussed later. 3 The last two principles that are in Smiths principles are that criminal law must not be uncertain, 4 in that the law cannot be impossible for an ordinary person to know if an act is provoked. Finally the last principle is that the law should punish for the guilty mind which in other words 5 has a level of blameworthiness, and in every case there is a different level of blameworthiness. The Modified Smith Principles discussed is a perspective of the goals of criminal law and thus we will view cyberbullying through each of these principles and mention them in the positive and negative components. These are the Modified Smith principles but the traditionalist and critical perspectives also allow us to view criminal offences as well and what their goals and purposes are according to them. The traditional legal perspective takes an approach where it sees criminal law as a given, concentrates on the written, formal aspects of law and assumes that the law is a neutral force 2www.cyberbullying.ca - Retrieved November 10, 2011, from http://www.cyberbullying.ca/ 3Supra 1 4 5Ibid Ibid to be used and manipulated by legally constituted agents. It takes in a high social consensus and argues that these rules and processes reflect shared values and concerns, the two schools of differences are liberal and conservative, therefore this is how our government views criminal 7 law. As for the critical perspective, it provides a fully social perspective on how criminal law is applied, this approach argues that the law must be analyzed and understood which means law 8 is both a social product and has an influence on these social relations. Overall, we will be taking cyberbullying and viewing it through these two perspectives and how it would integrate into our criminal law, but mainly be taking the Modified Smith principles
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